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March 15, 2012

Darryl Bryant

Bob Huggins

Kevin Jones


Gonzaga テや 77
West Virginia テや 54

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by West Virginia.
Coach, do you want to give any opening remarks?
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll go straight to questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Kevin, I'm sure you never envisioned your career ending that poorly, both team‑wise and individually.テつ Was there anything other than their defense that caused that?
KEVIN JONES:テつ No.テつ They played a heck of a game on both ends of the court.テつ They did a good job of helping down on me.テつ My teammates weren't able to hit open shots.テつ That's just been the story of our year this whole year.
But I'm still proud of my teammates and the way they fought just all year, being as young as we were.テつ I'll never forget the memories here.

Q.テつ Darryl, if you could talk about Gonzaga guards, if they surprised you a bit coming out?
DARRYL BRYANT:テつ I mean, they did.テつ I just feel like they out‑toughed us today.テつ I mean, both of them combined for about 25 in the first half, 20‑something, I know that.
I mean, just let them get going.テつ By the time we tried to stop them, it was too late.

Q.テつ Kevin, can you talk about whenever you caught the ball in the post, it seemed there were two or three guys on you.テつ That had to be frustrating.
KEVIN JONES:テつ It was frustrating, because, you know, you feel like you're open, you're posting your heart out, and your teammates aren't throwing it to you.テつ But you don't see there's like two other guys behind you, so you get mad.テつ But there's really nothing they can do.
I would say that's probably one of the best jobs a team has done on me on team defense, surrounding me whenever I got the ball.テつ It was definitely frustrating.

Q.テつ Kevin, at the very end of the game you stayed in the game until very end, with your career, all that you've done, what was going through your mind at the very end?
KEVIN JONES:テつ Just that this is it.テつ I couldn't imagine sharing my career with a great teammate like Truck, great friend, a coach like Coach Huggins, who has taught me a lot the last four years.テつ It was kind of a sad and emotional moment.
I know I got another career ahead of me.テつ I just got to think about that right now.テつ But I'll never forget the memories here, like I said.

Q.テつ Kevin, you guys had a pretty rough stretch in the first half.テつ Was there ever a feeling of frustration, desperation?
KEVIN JONES:テつ Yeah, there was always a feeling of frustration throughout the whole game.テつ It was definitely desperation during the second half.テつ We were down by so many points.テつ We weren't playing defense.テつ They came out tougher, more aggressive, more energized than we were.テつ You see the result of it.
They were the better team.

Q.テつ Kevin, you considered going pro last season, decided to stay.テつ Can you describe if it was worth staying.テつ What did you learn this year that you can take to the pros?
KEVIN JONES:テつ It was definitely worth the stay.テつ Just learned a lot.テつ I matured as a man on and off the court.テつ Coach Huggins taught me a lot, the coaching staff.テつ I just benefited a whole bunch from coming back this year.テつ Hopefully, it's stuff I can take with me to the next level, whatever level that may be.テつ I'm very grateful for that.

Q.テつ Truck, Gonzaga's offense, the shots they were making, was it a simple matter of them running good offense or was there some defensive problems for West Virginia?
DARRYL BRYANT:テつ I mean, we had a lot of defensive breakdowns, first half and second half.テつ Second half, it was just ‑‑ the lead was just so deep, it was hard to even think that you were down that much, especially for me and K.J., our last game here as Mountaineers.

Q.テつ Truck, you said 'out‑toughed' and, Kevin, you said they were tougher.テつ These are unusual things to hear from a West Virginia team under Coach Huggins.テつ What do you think put you in a frame of mind to have something like that happen?
KEVIN JONES:テつ I think we knew they were going to come out aggressive just by the way they were talking before the game, very aggressive and tough‑minded.テつ They stayed that way throughout the whole game.テつ That's something that we didn't do.
They played better team basketball than we did.テつ That really helped them.テつ They shared the ball.テつ They found open guys, and the guys made shots.
DARRYL BRYANT:テつ In all my years here, this had to been the roughest year to think about getting out‑toughed.テつ It's never happened to us before.テつ We just got out‑toughed tonight.テつ That's how it really was.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, guys.テつ We'll continue with questions for Coach Huggins.

Q.テつ Was it Gonzaga running a really good offense or what was the situation there?
COACH HUGGINS:テつ Yeah, they ran good offense.テつ You know, Mark said to me that's the best they've shot the ball all year.
You know, we try to do a good job scouting.テつ You can't let guys that are gonna drive it right, drive it right.テつ You have to make people uncomfortable.テつ They've got skilled guys.テつ You try to take their tendencies away.テつ We didn't do as good a job.テつ The truth of the matter is it's kind of a microcosm of our season.
This is the worst defensive team I've ever had in 30 years.テつ We don't get the help, we don't get the loose balls.テつ We don't do the things we've done for years and years and years.
They shoot 56%, that's never happened.テつ You've been around.テつ That's never, ever happened.テつ No matter how well somebody played, it never happened.
A lot of it is because we're so inept offensively.テつ They get breakouts.テつ We throw the ball around, throw the ball to them.テつ That adds to it.

Q.テつ First half you were out‑rebounded, that's something that usually doesn't happen to you either.
COACH HUGGINS:テつ There was going to come a point in time where they were going to double‑team K.J. and not let him get to the glass.テつ He's carried us.テつ Quite frankly, he's carried us.
If you look at the rebounding stats, Gary Browne, if we played him more minutes, would have been our second leading rebounder, which doesn't say much about the rest of our frontline.
And we can't spread anybody because we haven't made shots.テつ We haven't made shots for a month.テつ When we were playing better, we made some shots.テつ Jabarie made some shots, Aaron Brown made some shots.テつ We just haven't made shots.
I mean, we're trying to spread people and they're taking guys that are away from the ball and they're standing right behind K.J.テつ Had three guys on him.テつ Smart thing to do.テつ Finally at the end I said, Skip it, skip it.テつ We finally skipped it, didn't make any.テつ Why worry about it if the guys aren't going to make shots?

Q.テつ You started Aaron Brown.テつ What were you looking for there?
COACH HUGGINS:テつ Somebody that could make a shot.テつ I mean, you know, there's 30‑some tapes out there on us.テつ You got to figure they're going to try to guard K.J.テつテつ It compounds it in that Deniz or Dom can't make a shot from outside the lane.テつ So they're going to sag in off of them.テつ But they've done that all year.
When our other guys have struggled the way they've struggled, why not at least give it a try?テつ They did.テつ You can't play two on five.テつ That's pretty much what we did.

Q.テつ Can you speak to the place that Kevin Jones and his career stands with you and with your program.
COACH HUGGINS:テつ Well, I think most importantly Kevin Jones is as good a person as I've ever been around in my life.テつ Forget basketball.テつ Anywhere at any time, he is a wonderful, wonderful human being.
He's made such great strides as a player because he works and because he listens.テつ I mean, he's a guy who tries to do everything you tell him to do. テつHe's made himself a great rebounder.テつ I mean, obviously the biggest thing, he's got great hands.テつ He works at position, he goes where you tell him to go, he studies where shots come off, but he cares.テつ I think that's the biggest thing, he cares.
He's going to end up, I don't know, top five scorers, top five rebounders, all‑time leading offensive rebounder, a lot of things.テつ When you look at the names he's passed, it's pretty impressive.
But more importantly than that, he's been a wonderful guy.テつ He has been a tremendous credit to West Virginia University the way he conducts himself.

Q.テつ Any thoughts on their two freshmen guards?
COACH HUGGINS:テつ They're good.テつ They're good.テつ Pangos shoots it really, really well.テつ He's clever with the ball.テつ I think he's a little bit deceiving because of his understanding how to play.
I think what Mark has done a great job of his recruiting guys that know how to play basketball.テつ I think sometimes you get guys caught up in guys that know how to run and jump, but they don't know how to play basketball.テつ It's hard when you can't make any adjustments.テつ I think the adjustments they make at the defensive end and offensively are because he's got guys with high basketball IQs ‑ at least they appear to have.

Q.テつ The main headline for the team all year was the play of Kevin.テつ One of the underlining side‑bars was how these freshmen were going to come along.テつ Now that it's all over with this year, can you speak about the transition for him, what it was like coaching him, did you get everything out of him?
COACH HUGGINS:テつ We just had too many of 'em.テつ We had too many of 'em.テつ We lose a guy because of a medical condition.テつ We lose another guy because of some issues.テつ We lose a guy because basically his father was ill and he decided to go home and be closer to home.テつ All of a sudden now you're looking at having two seniors and Deniz, and everybody else a freshmen, except for Dom, who is a junior college guy.
We chose to go the freshmen route and bring in those freshmen.テつ I tell you guys all the time, you know, we want to be better.テつ But Joe Mazzulla wasn't any good when he was a freshman.テつ Alex Ruoff you wouldn't have wanted to put him in the game.テつ They made themselves into very good players.テつ It's 18‑year‑old kids playing against men in a lot of instances.
Those 18‑year‑old kids, very rarely do they fare unless they're exceptional, exceptional players.テつ Obviously, our guys aren't exceptional players.テつ We hope the Jabarie Hinds and the Gary Brownes of the world turn themselves into players like those other guys did.
But you got to want to.テつ Really when Kevin Jones came in, nobody ever thought he would be what he was.テつ He turned himself into a good player.テつ I've been fortunate over the years to have guys do that.

Q.テつ You don't usually take losses very well, as you know.テつ How long does it take you to get over this loss, this year?テつ How do you go about it?
COACH HUGGINS:テつ I don't know.テつ I don't know.テつ Never gotten beat like that.テつ We just were never in the game.テつ Shouldn't say 'never.'テつ Maybe a couple times.テつ But not very well.
I don't know.テつ Have to figure it out.

Q.テつ You said this is one of the worst defensive teams you've coached.テつ How do you change that mentality going forward?テつ Does it have to do with maturity of the freshmen?
COACH HUGGINS:テつ I don't very rarely mention it because I don't want to give anybody excuses.テつ But we lost a 6'9" guy who was our really third big, then we lost a 6'11" guy who was our fourth big.テつ We were short on the frontline.
The easiest way to make guys do what they're supposed to do is set them on the bench.テつ They figure out, I better do what I'm supposed to do or I'm not getting back in the game.テつ We couldn't do that.テつ We didn't have enough guys to do that.テつ Going in, we had five bigs.テつ We thought that was enough.テつ You get guys hurt, there's nothing you can do about that.
We're a whole lot different team.テつ We lost 8 of our last 12.テつ When we started losing games is when Kevin Noreen went down.テつ Kevin's not a great athlete, but he knows what he's doing and he screens and he rebounds and he guards, and he passes the ball.テつ We were so much better offensively when he was in the game.テつ He knew how to play.テつ Nothing you can do about that.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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